Japan in San Francisco, Bay Area

Japan Town, San Francisco, is located near center of the city. When one drives on Geary from east approaching Van Ness, one begins to see 5 stories Japanese style Pagoda. There is an office of National Japanese Association on Post Street, if one is interested in learning Japanese American History. There is a lot of Japanese monuments in Japan Town. The symbolic is the tower located in North Center of Japan Town on Post Street. It says “Japan Town” in Japanese.

This tower copies Fire Watching Tower in Japan. In Edo period of Tokugawa Shogun Government, volunteer and professional fire fighters were watching fires from the top of the tower. When they find a fire, ring the bell inside and alarm residents and signal fire fighters depart from the base station.

The most symbolic in Japan Town is the Japanese style 5 stories Pagoda. Pagoda was built to preserve and save Buddha bones after he deceased. This Pagoda is in the Center Square of 2 main buildings in Japan town. The square is a good place for having lunch with your friend in weekdays. The square today was full of young Asian tourists.

There is a wall on the Geary Street side of Japan Town, between main 2 buildings in the area. The wall was quite solemn. There are 2 Chinese Characters engraved on the wall. The Characters, on the wall, mean “Peace” in Japanese. This square is for preserving and recording what happened in the World War II to teach people how war can affect people.

In Japan Town, Street Names are shown both in English and Japanese. Japan Town is the unique place to find the street names are shown in both languages. I cannot believe 2 countries have a history of war in taking a look at this arrangement.

Walking into the one of 2 main buildings, one would not believe that he still is in the US. One feels like walking in some shopping mall in down town Tokyo, such as Shinjuku.

There are lots of Japan related shops, such as Kimono (Japanese Traditional Clothes) Shops, Japanese Traditional Dram Training Place, Japanese Antique Shops, or Japanese Restaurants. Everybody loves Sushi restaurant in Japan Town, San Francisco.

In the US, historically an immigrant’s country, it is not so hard to find any ethnicity. Japan is not an exception. The most typical is Japan Town, but even without visiting Japan Town, San Francisco, there are Japan anywhere in Bay Area.

Driving on El Camino Real, which runs across California as a historic drive, one can find an Authentic Japanese Garden, in Central Park San Mateo. The person who designed, built, and maintained is 1st generation Japanese gentleman. His name is Sam. Sam came to US, when he was 10 years old.

After he had changed his job several times, San Mateo County hired him. Until he retired, he was the main person who took care of the Japanese Garden. In winter, he took out all the carps from the pound and changed water. In the spring, he took care of flowers and sharp wood branch tips so that children who play there were not hurt. Even after his official retirement, he goes to his garden and make sure everything is in order. His constant care and effort kept the garden beautiful.

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